Sunday, April 22, 2007

Off the Chain - A breed problem

As much as I try, and as long as I let this set in my head today, it has still come out as a bit of a rant. That is bound to happen here on occasion. I get passionate about some topics. Consider yourself forewarned.





I began my day by watching a dog DVD. It is a very normal beginning to many of my days being that I am so entrenched in dogs. Today it may have been a mistake. Not because it was dog related, but because the material was so disturbing I am finding it hard to shake. I suppose that was the point though. It SHOULD be hard to shake. It was a brutal look at something we don't like to think about, yet it happens every single day in this country, with deadly results.



The DVD in question is called "Off the Chain". It is about how we, the American dog loving public, have helped ruin and are continuing to betray a great breed. We are not alone in it though. There are other countries ruining them as well. Japan and Italy are even worse than us in some ways since dog fighting is legal in those countries. It is even a public spectator sport there.



Yes I said public.



Makes you want to vomit doesn't it?



These monsters, lets not sugar coat this issue, say they love their fighting dogs. Hmmm seems to me love means keeping that animal you claim to love from being seriously hurt. Or from being at risk of a horribly painful death. No, they love money, they may even love the prestige they get in fighting circles, but they do NOT love their dogs. That is quite clear to anyone with even two brain cells to rub together. Criminals are obviously not the smart group on our planet.


Because of breed bans in this country, thousands of pitbulls are put to death every day because they were unlucky enough to be born. I wish people that hate them so much would do some actual research of their own on the breed. I'm not saying they need to love them and want one of their own. That wouldn't be good either. I just wish they would understand that it is people that have made this problem and see how. They could learn why breed banning is so misguided and doesn't work. It doesn't work because the idiots fighting them move to a different place. Or they hide them. It certainly doesn't stop the fighting. Then all the poor reputable owners get their dogs seized and killed. Can you imagine the local animal control coming into your home to take YOUR dog away to be killed? With NO way to save them? How unbelievably sad is that?



If you were targeting a specific group of people to hate, it would be considered prejudice and certainly not politically correct. It would be considered racial profiling to say all (insert type of person here) are thieves. So why is it ok to do with dogs? Because people fear what they do not know. How sad that the fear and ignorance causes so much death for so many dogs.



That is one reason I am so eager to try to educate the masses. Breed banning isn't the answer. And if you think breed bans will stop with just pits, you are sadly mistaken. Once that door is open many other breeds will be sure to follow. Would you believe my little 25 pound french bulldog is illegal to have in some parts of Canada already? That is because she is one of the "bully" breeds. It doesn't matter that she isn't a pitbull. To them, she is close enough. If I drive though their area they can seize her and kill her just because she looks similar to a pitbull. I have no plans on taking any of my dogs to Canada EVER.


German Shepherds, Dobermans, Boxers and probably Rottweilers will be sure to follow. All of the breeds we developed to work for us or to be guard dogs. Then once they are "all gone" we'll move on to the other breeds with teeth: poodles, goldens, labs, well you know, the list there is endless. ALL dogs have teeth! ALL dogs are capable of biting! If you think all (insert name of breed you love here) are fabulous dogs with NO aggression issues then you need to shadow a dog trainer for about a week. They are out there, trust me. The "bad dog" issue is an irresponsible OWNER problem! Responsible owners do NOT allow their dogs to hurt other animals or people. Especially if they realize their dog has issues. Target the jerks that are perpetuating the problem. Not those trying to raise well socialized, well trained, healthy dogs as wonderful loving family companions.

I say make having a dog contingent on testing. ANY dog. That way people have to earn the privilege by being knowledgable enough. If they screw it up by not treating the dog properly or letting it hurt someone, no more dogs for them. It is so simple it is crazy. EVERY reputable owner would gladly do this if it meant no more breed bans. That and crack down on those fighting them. Make it more than a slap on the wrist for those caught with ANY fighting related paraphernalia. Sure seize the dogs, but how about we test them prior to euthanasia? Some of them are bait dogs and do NOT fight with other dogs. (Check out the DVD. Even some of the "fighting dogs" can be seen trying to climb out of the ring. Bursting the theory that they ALL want to fight.) Seems a shame we have to kill those poor dogs too after living such a horrible existence already.



Pit bulls are NOT bred to be aggressive to people. Even those jerks that fight them do not tolerate aggression to people and will not breed a human aggressive pit. (And they will put down the ones that are.) Those dogs would be to hard for them to handle in the fighting ring. People are routinely in the ring with the dogs as the fight is happening. (Don't just take my word for it, check out the video or do some of your own research.)


So the photos I chose to display today are from a law enforcement website. They CHOOSE to use pitbulls in detection work because they are such a great breed. They are friendly, TRUSTWORTHY, easy to train and love to work. Check out their site for even more great info: www.lawdogsusa.org/home.html (For my readers who are pit lovers they have some great stuff in their store. BTW)



Now to be clear, I'm not saying they are the breed for everyone. There is no breed that is right for everyone. We all have different quirks and lifestyles. Some owners are very laid back and don't want to do much training. That is fine, there are so many different breeds out there, as well as mixed breeds in shelters that need homes too, that there is a dog for just about every situation. Pitbulls need someone who will spend time with them and train them properly. They need a responsible owner that understands that not everyone will welcome their dog with open arms, and can also handle their energy level. (Though admittedly some pits are gold medalists in the couch potato Olympics.) Pitbulls are smart. They need training to guide them in the proper direction and keep them out of trouble. (Smart dogs are alot of fun to train but can get bored easily. A bored smart dog will find it's OWN fun. )

And am I saying that all pitbulls are great dogs? No, there are individuals in every breed that are bad examples. But lets stop using the few bad apples as the representitives for all of that breed. It just isn't fair. The media loves to sell papers. Sensational stories sell those papers. How many stories do they do on the therapy dog pitbulls? Statistically more toy dogs bite people each year than large dogs. (And it's not usually their first or last bite to a person.) But they don't do as much physical damage so it doesn't make the news.

The video was excellent as a teaching tool with some wonderful information about pit bulls including some historical footage. It is very graphic however and not for everyone. Definatly not for kids or even most young teens. (I had been warned.) There were a couple of times I had to turn away. (And I'm not normally very squeamish.) It does show actual fighting and some severely wounded dogs. It also shows the fighting handlers being very cruel to the dogs. It is a very upsetting video but unfortunately a necessary one to help show the real world of dog fighting and the ruination of what used to be a very loved breed in this country. Some people need to see it before they will acknowledge it as a very real issue that needs to be stopped. Sad it should take such a video to open those peoples eyes.

OK I have rambled enough for tonight. I hope I made a few good points without being to preachy. If only you could have seen what was on the DVD though. You would understand my upset. For those interested in more pitbull info check out http://www.realpitbull.com/

Relinquishing my soapbox for tonight. Now go hug your dog.

2 comments:

TORONTOVET said...

Marie,

So poignant and true. Great post. I think we can write books on the subject. You have touched on the bottom line: human behaviour is at the root of this problem.
How many bites are inflicted by terribly-behaved small breeds every year in North America? We don't hear about these breeds simply because the injuries sustained don't result in mortality. Stop blaming the breed. The species responsible is not Canis familiaris but Homo sapiens....

Marie said...

Thank you. Human behavior is almost always the problem for everything that is wrong. We are an arrogant bunch aren't we?

Link added, thanks again.